One Shot: Rivalry

by Honorat

Rating: K

Characters: The Dauntless and the Interceptor

Disclaimer: Pirate!

Summary: This has to be the strangest explanation I've ever heard for why the entire Royal Navy crew went over to the Dauntless when Jack stole the Interceptor. Late answer to the "I'd do anything" challenge at Black Pearl Sails. 500 words.

Thanks, Geekmama for the beta read.

You must call them!
The words of that bloody little upstart, Interceptor, held a strain of desperation in them. You must! They were yours first, and they will come to you. I can make them all leave, but only if you help me.

The Dauntless towered over her younger compatriot, stately and imposing. Why should I help you? she inquired haughtily. You ask me to neglect my duty, betray their trust. Allow you to escape.

But I must. Don't you understand? the smaller brig cried.

No. Explain yourself.

The Interceptor's sails quivered with a breath of painful laughter. You will think me a fool.

I already do, the older ship said dryly.

Ducking her bow in embarrassment, the Interceptor confessed, The moment he first set foot on my deck, I knew I had never been fully alive. The feel of his hands on my helm—it was like fire that burns but does not consume. The dark enchantment of his voice. No one has ever talked to me as he does. He told me I was his, and his telling made it so. To remain here were to be unfaithful. I love him. And I will go with him.

He does not love you, you know, the Dauntless replied cruelly. He uses you to get to another.

I know, the Interceptor admitted sadly. But even to be his for just this one journey, to be the one he has chosen to take him to his beloved, is better than never knowing his touch at all.

There was a long silence when only the small waves lapped and the seabirds cried. Finally the Dauntless said quietly, I understand.

A flash of enlightenment shivered through the Interceptor's rigging. Ah! So that is it. You want him for yourself. I cannot blame you. But he needs me. Needs my fleet wings and agile hull. You cannot help him.

That was truth. The Dauntless acknowledged the hit.

The Interceptor waited a moment, but no further capitulation seemed forthcoming. She could not fail! For his sake then, she begged. For him, and for our dark sister who waits for him to break her curse and who holds his heart.

The great warship shifted irresolutely against her moorings. Almost, she was convinced.

They will all be yours then. The bold, shining commodore, the brave lieutenants, all of them, the Interceptor suggested slyly. Yours alone, as it was before I came.

The Dauntless brightened and dipped her bow. There is that. She paused, considering. Very well. I will do as you ask.

And so, when the Interceptor pressed her hot flank up against the great side of the Dauntless, every last man left her as though drawn by the songs of sirens. And while the Interceptor strained frantically at her cables, two men dropped quietly to her decks from the Dauntless.

A sigh shivered through the sails of the Interceptor; the lines holding the Dauntless groaned. And then the bright stinging strokes of an axe set the little brig free. She leapt ahead before the last line parted, feeling it snap taut and then burst.

All her rigging thrummed and sang. All her sails filled with the wild free wind. For now, for however long it lasted, she belonged to Captain Jack Sparrow.

The End.